Don’t miss the start of Chinese New Year, a 15 day festival celebrating family, new beginnings, and the start of the lunar new year. My family lived in China for a short period of time, so celebrating the Chinese New Year feels a bit like home. 2017 celebrates the year of the Rooster; if you or your little ones are turning 12, 24, 36, (etc…) this year—throw something on that is red in color (wear it the whole year!) and get ready for a year full of luck & happiness!
Festivals & Parades
The highlight of the festivities, especially for the kids, is the chance to attend a Chinese New Year Festival or Parade. If you live anywhere near a metro area, chances are there is some sort of event going on to celebrate the holiday. Los Angeles is the closest metro area to my family, and we were hosted for a pre-New Year LA tour by the Omni hotel. The Omni at California Plaza exudes family-friendliness from backpacks stuffed with kid activities given at check-in, to complimentary milk & cookies before bed for all the little ones. In addition to being full of fa
mily friendly amenities, the hotel is conveniently located near Chinatown; take the hotel car for a quick 3-minute ride and you are there!
LA’s Chinatown will be hosting their 118th annual Chinese New Year parade on February 4 at 1pm. Families with older kids can sign up for The Great Chinatown Hunt, an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt in Chinatown —I must admit that I am waiting with anticipating for my girls to get older so we can enjoy this event. Cities across the US are holding parades and festivals in honor of the year of the Horse.
Trekaroo Editor-in-Chief, Sharlene Earnshaw, attended Disneyland’s Lunar New Year offering as well!
Chinese New Year Activities & Festivals in your city:
Los Angeles | San Diego | San Francisco |San Francisco ( Fortune Cookie Tours) | Sacramento| Portland | Seattle | Phoenix/Tucson | Denver | Chicago | Atlanta | Washington DC| New York | Connecticut Cities | Florida Cities | Massachusetts
A major part of Chinese New Year, and Chinese culture in general, is eating authentic food- and by authentic, I don’t mean Panda Express! Sharing meals together is a major part of Asian culture, so important in fact that the common street greeting in Chinese is “Ni Chi Le Ma?” (你吃了吗 , Knee Chur Luh Muh)–have you eaten? Most of the amazing memories I have while living in China take place around a giant table full of delicious food. The West Coast & other major US cities abound with amazing authentic Chinese and Asian food opportunities; although the rest of the country is hit or miss, some awesome, flavorful restaurant spots are tucked into unique corners across the US.
Jiaozi (饺子, geeOW-zuh), more commonly known as dumplings, receive special New Year Spring Festival recognition as one of the main dishes to be served at a Chinese New Year feast. My family gathers together yearly to continue this dumpling making tradition—although there is a bit of work, even the kids can (and should) join in the preparations for these tasty bites, and the reward is a lot of family time together with a delicious ending. If you aren’t up for the labor intensive version, be sure to head out to your city’s favorite Chinese restaurant this new year.
Find authentic food in your neighborhood:
Time with Family
The major theme of the Lunar New Year is family. Similar to our Christmas holiday, millions of people across the world take a break from work, fly home to be with mom and dad, and attempt to spend quality time with their family over food, fun and festivities. If you live in a rural area or just don’t have the money or time to head to a Chinese festival or event, make it a staycation. Grab those closest to you and spend time making a memory this Chinese New Year- give red envelopes full of small trinkets or change to children, make dragons out of recycled egg cartons, wear a ton of red, and decorate your house with home-made paper lanterns, or even attempt your hand at making your own Chinese New Year feast!
Stay-at-home Chinese New Year Resources:
Have a game, craft, recipe or any other Chinese New Year Staycation idea?